David Haye's proposed world heavyweight title unification fight with Wladimir Klitschko will not be held in this country despite organisers confirming they are considering numerous European locations.
Haye has finally agreed a deal to put his WBA title on the line against IBF/WBO holder Klitschko this summer, with the Ukrainian's elder brother Vitali, the WBC champion, a back-up option should Wladimir's stomach injury fail to heal in time. The fight was expected to be held in Germany, where the Klitschkos have a huge following, but their manager, Bernd Boente, said yesterday "two or three" other venues are being considered.
He said: "It is not 100 per cent that it's going to be in Germany. The stadiums in Dortmund, Gelsenkirchen and Kaiserslautern are available and very interested in staging it. But there are two or three other options that we are exploring in other countries. Honestly, that is only to maximise revenues.
"In the end, it is not about home advantage or whatever. That is a key understanding between Adam [Booth, Haye's manager] and myself. Adam is with me in the driving seat, we will discuss these things together. I can't tell you where they are but they are all in Europe – but not England. Las Vegas and the United States was never an option because this fight has to be primetime in Europe."
It emerged yesterday that the contract for the 25 June or 2 July fight does not stipulate which brother Haye will meet. However, the plan is to pit the 30-year-old against Wladimir unless an abdominal injury, which forced the Ukrainian out of his fight with Dereck Chisora, flares up again. Boente said: "It could also be Vitali. In the talks, David was not rejecting Vitali any more, he was very flexible. That was never negotiated.
"Knock on wood it's not the case, but should anything happen injury-wise [to Wladimir], as long as it is not three days before the fight or whatever, then Vitali could be the opponent."
Boente revealed the contract is a simple one-fight arrangement, with a general understanding that Haye would fight one brother first and then the other in the autumn, before his planned retirement in October.